The Independent view

This Christmas, you gave the gift of a bed to 500 children in need. We hit our target, but the campaign is not over

Editorial: Child poverty is a deeply political issue, and the state necessarily has the pre-eminent role in tackling social evils – but all sides can at least agree that helping children sleep in their own beds helps them make the best of their education

Wednesday 20 December 2023 19:48 GMT
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<p>Zarach was founded by a teacher, Bex Wilson, who witnessed at first hand the deleterious effects that lack of rest can inflict upon young, developing minds and bodies</p>

Zarach was founded by a teacher, Bex Wilson, who witnessed at first hand the deleterious effects that lack of rest can inflict upon young, developing minds and bodies

At this time of year, it is especially poignant to reflect on the plight of children suffering from one particular kind of abject hardship – bed poverty. This is, after all, when the phrase “no crib for a bed” becomes ubiquitous and, sadly, for far too many youngsters the comfort of a bed of their own – or perhaps any bed at all – is not theirs to enjoy. How easily the more fortunate members of society take such a thing for granted.

So The Independent is proud to support a smaller charity dedicated to trying to do something about this social evil – Zarach. It was founded by a teacher, Bex Wilson, who witnessed at first hand the deleterious effects that lack of rest can inflict upon young, developing minds and bodies. As a deputy head at a school in Leeds, Ms Wilson found that one 11-year-old boy “wasn’t his usual happy self, so I asked if he was feeling tired. His response at that moment, not that I knew it at the time, was to change both my life and his. ‘Miss, I am always tired. I don’t have a bed.’”

No wonder Ms Wilson set about doing something about the predicament in which the boy’s family found itself, and the turnaround in the pupil’s prospects that resulted. For a relatively modest investment, priceless life chances can be restored or enhanced. It is a charitable donation that, as the phrase goes, just keeps on giving. Some £180 at Zarach can provide a bed, mattress, duvet, pillows, pyjamas, and a hygiene kit for a child in need. Families are also given a £30 supermarket voucher for a Christmas meal. The appeal is still open.

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